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Compulsive Research: Burning Down the House

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Compulsive Research 700x235

After spending an entire month or so tuning and playing the Naya deck which I took to GP Calgary, I decided that for this week, I was going to try to have a little fun. There have been a lot of professional players talking about a Big Red list that performed well on MTGO, and also placed in the top 8 of GP Calgary. I think the list first showed up at the SCG Invitational piloted by Team LegitMTG’s own, Andrew Shrout, and since has found itself upon many different tuners’ anvils. Since the Calgary top 8 list looked like it was the closest to what I was looking to play, I decided to take it for a spin with only a couple of small changes. Here is what I brought to battle this week.

This deck looked like it featured a bunch of cards that I fell in love with while playing Naya such as Boros Reckoner, Chandra, Pyromaster, Thundermaw Hellkite, and Bonfire of the Damned. The deck also allowed me to play with a couple more cards from the school of new hotness like Mutavault and Burning Earth, which clearly held even further appeal to me. I played a bunch of games with the deck, making various small changes through the night. Although we didn’t win a whole bunch with the deck, it should be noted that we did happen to play against two life gain decks during the evening, which definitely skewed our results slightly. Here are the games.


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There have been a number of people that have been playing this deck among the community, and there have been some changes to it that I can really get behind. Most of the lists that have been doing well have been cutting the Brimstone Volley for Flames of the Firebrand. I can really get behind this change, as the flexibility the card provides you in targeting is really what we want in this one. I have also seen Chris VanMeter playing the deck on his stream on Thursday last week, and he is up to a full 4 Chandra, Pyromaster in the main deck. I watched him crush The Eh Team’s very own KYT there, with KYT piloting Craig Wescoe’s Boros deck with 4 main deck Brave the Elements and Fiendslayer Paladins. This has to mean that the deck can very well be the real deal. I think the first thing to remember when playing this deck, is that it is not actually an aggro or all out burn deck. You really need to play this deck as a midrange deck with a very good ability to control the board or just burn out the opponent as the game goes longer. I personally was very impressed with Blasphemous Act in this deck, as your Boros Reckoners and copious amount of direct damage capacity show the potential of this card, previously unseen since The Aristocrats: Act 2. In a similar capacity, I really can’t wait to see just how good Chandra’s Phoenix will be this time around in Standard after rotation. The fiery bird really felt like a great versatile and resilient card, giving this deck a lot more options than initially observed. Being able to block and then attack the next turn with Haste was super valuable. I was really unhappy with the full 4 Mutavaults though, as they ended up more than once preventing my Reckoners from joining the party on time. Skullcrack and Volcanic Strength seemed like very valuable cards out of the board, especially with RG Aggro, UWR, Jund and now this deck being so popular. That said, with Burning Earth as a strategy becoming so ingrained in the metagame as quickly as it has, I think that it is already being adapted to, and good decks which were previously being held at bay as tier 1.5 or tier 2 decks are making a comeback. GW Lifegain and Little Kid versions are becoming more and more popular, and the Mono Green deck made popular by Raphael Levy are putting up results. One thing I can tell you for sure, is that the last months of Standard as we know it are shaping up to go out with a bang, so make sure you get your fill while you can before rotation.

Thanks to Edgar Magalhares for the comment last week. You are the winner of the LegitMTG credit this week! Please make sure you create an account at store.legitmtg.com and then email sales@legitmtg.com to collect! To answer your question, the RG aggro decks were becoming too popular, and we needed a bit more life gain and game against that deck. Both are likely good configurations though.

I have a great guest on this week, Canadian grinder and deck designer extraordinaire, Glenn McIelwain, who will be taking us through some games with the now popular and seemingly well positioned, GB Rock. Come check out life on the dark side! 930 PM EST at twitch.tv/legitmtg! See you there!

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